“I used to live my life with the goal of ‘living well,’” He said. I leaned in, anticipating the “but” I sensed was coming.
“But now,” he continued, aware of my posture and certain I was listening, “my hope and aim is to die well.”
I just sat there stunned. What he just said reverberated around the walls of my heart with a mighty echo. In those 8 small words a profound Truth was expanding within my soul. This “dying” to ourselves has never swallowed easy and it has never come easy.
How does one actually do that? I mean, to “die” to ourselves?
We are hardwired to live. The breathing in and breathing out of what we need and want, what we hope and what we pray for – isn’t it all in an attempt to take hold of our own destiny in one way or another? Isn’t it all a grand gesture to enter successfulness and rest?
But if I really want to be honest (and I do), then I can no longer ignore the conflict – that the rest and hope and joy and peace that I seek is often sought within the confines of my flesh and my incredibly small understanding of how it all fits together. For His glory and my good.
And there is where the conflict lies – what I think is best and what He decrees is good. And as much as I want them to be, goodness knows they are not always the same thing.
At the end of the day, God is good and what He wills and does is good. Period.
Just because I see in part, just because I feel entitled to my weighty opinion, doesn’t mean I get to qualify what “good” looks like or how it plays out in my life or the lives of those I love.
Geez. Now that is just hard stuff to wrap my brain around.
How do you die so that you can really live?
This past weekend I had the profound privilege of meeting together with some wonderful, godly women. Some of these women spoke great words of life and wisdom into my heart. There were many profound Truths spoken that weekend that were powerful, but one in particular won’t stop bouncing around my head and heart:
“Peace is not the absence of dissension or turmoil, but the presence of submission.”
Just think about that a moment.
Peace is not circumstantial. If it is, I am in real trouble. There are few spaces in my life right now that are circumstantially peaceful. That’s just the reality of where I am, where so many of us are. Life is hard. It just is.
We are born fighting for air-space, for attention, for our needs to be met. We stretch and we crave, we push and we pounce upon the things we desire most. We work, we strive, we beg and we plead for answers, for relief…for hope, for peace, for joy.
So, if peace is really found in submission, in trusting Him in all things and laying our lives down – willingly dying – the way that I live and breathe has got to change. Daily submitting to His purposes and plans so that in a posture of submission, I am actually positioning myself to receive.
Resting in the goodness of God and His sovereignty in ALL THINGS is counter-cultural.
It is. It will always be. That is how Jesus lived His life. And it is how He calls us to follow Him still.
“(18) Do not deceive yourselves. If any of you think you are wise by the standards of this age, you should become “fools” so that you may become wise. (19) For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight.”
1 Corinthians 3:18-19 (NIV)
And, of course, there is the life and testimony of Paul…
“(21) For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.”
Philippians 1:21 NIV
Paul got it. I want to get it, too. In this life, I want to die well.
Die to myself.
Die to my flesh.
Die to my unforgiveness.
Die to my sense of entitlement.
Die to my selfishness and want.
Die to my vanity.
All of it. I want to lay it down and die to it – willingly, joyfully – that I may pick up something of infinitely greater value.
Live to a joy that is not based on anything I can hold.
Live to a hope that cannot be stolen or forsaken.
Live to a future that is not safe but is always good.
Live to a peace that passes all my understanding.
Live to a bravery that is not based on my performance or success.
Live to a mercy that is new every morning.
Live to a strength that is anchored in an unshakeable God.
Live for a love that is higher, longer, wider, deeper than I could ever fully grasp.
Yes, Jesus….YES! I want to die well, so that I may live well.
The song I want to share with you today is from Kim Walker-Smith, off her newly released album entitled, On My Side. The song is called, “Brave Surrender.” It is currently on auto-repeat in my house right now. Lovin’ it.
With joy for the journey,